MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


Concourse is a highly structured and integrated program for freshmen covering the standard core curriculum in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and humanities. The structure of Concourse follows that of the standard curriculum with scheduled lectures, recitations, problem sets and quizzes. Small class size (limited to 64 students) and extensive personal interaction with senior faculty and tutors provide students with the intimate atmosphere of a small school while retaining all of the excitement and resources of a large institution like MIT.

59 freshmen enrolled in Concourse for fall term, essentially full registration. Spring term's enrollment was 44, a 37% increase from the spring of 1997. Registration for IAP 1998 was full at 15 students who participated in Concourse's twelve-unit course on problem solving.

The new offering SP344 "Problems in Electricity and Magnetism" continues to succeed and has given rise to the First Annual MIT Perpetual Motion Machine Contest, in which undergraduates are encouraged (by a $500 cash prize for the best submission) to subvert the known laws of physics and chemistry. Spring term registration in Concourse increased substantially due to the availability of 18.03 Differential Equations, which was made possible by supplemental funding from the Office of the Dean of Engineering. Reception to the new offering SP330 "The Meeting of Art and Science Through Method" continues to be very positive and we are videotaping the classes as this will be the last time that this subject will be offered, anywhere.

Members of the Concourse faculty for 1997-98 were: David Amundsen, Department of Mathematics; Roberta Brawer, STS Program; Dr. Yuri Chernyak, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; Professor Jerome Y. Lettvin, Professor Emeritus, School of Engineering; Dr. Joseph Parse, Lecturer, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Dr. Kevin Rhoads, Lecturer, School of Engineering; Professor Robert M. Rose, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Professor Judah L. Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, School of Engineering; Radica Sipcic, Department of Mathematics; and Dr. Jeremy Wolfe, Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Sixteen MIT undergraduates in the fall and twelve undergraduates in the spring were employed as teaching assistants for recitations, grading, and running evening tutorials in chemistry, calculus, physics and differential equations.

The Concourse Program was overseen by Robert M. Rose as Director and by Ms. Cheryl Butters of the School of Engineering as Program Coordinator.

Robert M. Rose

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98